NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) — Students, parents and teachers in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District are speaking out against the implementation of a new schedule that would have students completing what is typically a year’s worth of classes in a single semester.
The schedule is known as “4×4” and was passed by the district for secondary education.
More than 2,000 people have signed a petition against the plan, arguing it could put students behind in progress, and others have come out to a protest on Monday as well.
“This serves no students. You cannot condense an entire year’s worth of learning into a semester. Students will not retain it and they will fall further behind,” Costa Mesa High School parent Cynthia Laurence said.
The instructional model, which will start next month, offers students about half of their typical daily courses from about six or eight classes a day to three or four instead.
A Newport Harbor High School teacher said he is concerned about a lack of teaching time since the school district operates on a block schedule, which means subjects aren’t normally taught every day.
“Before I was able to teach over 8,500 minutes, now it’s less. That’s a huge reduction,” Tony Zeddies said.
A choir teacher at Corona del Mar High School said he is concerned about this schedule change limiting the amount of time students can devote to the arts and the friendships they’ve built in those communities.
“This 4×4 model is essentially asking them to squish that down into one semester and go an entire seven months without the whole reason why they are in school and that is the friendships, the emotional support, that mental well being,” choir teacher Andy Ball aid.
Advanced Placement students were among those who are against the changes as they worry about the shorter amount of time they’ll have to learn college-level material.
“We’re already experiencing so much change having to switch to online school that just completely changing our schedule is adding too much to the students,” student Gabi Gomes said.
Advocates for a 4×4 model tout the benefits of having fewer students in each class which could lessen the burden on students and teachers, lower daily course load, and the opportunity to earn more credits toward graduation.